Killers politically rehabilitated
All the subsequent military and civil governments coming to power after the coup of August 15 awarded and rehabilitated the coup leaders politically instead of punishing the self-declared killers of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
General Ziaur Rahman-turned president, General Ershad-turned military ruler and former prime minister Khaleda Zia created various opportunities for the killers and politically rehabilitated them.
They directly or indirectly assisted the killers not only through rehabilitation but also in getting them into positions of power and authority.
Zia who came to power after the Aug 15 mayhem awarded the accused with prize postings in government jobs and paved the way for the killers to go out of the country instead of punishing them.
Syed Farooq Rahman ran against military ruler Ershad in the presidential race in 1982.
With the support and blessings of Ershad, the coup leaders of Aug 15 -- Farooq, Khandaker Abdur Rashid and Bazlul Huda -- floated a political party styled "Freedom Party" on November 7, 1987.
The armed cadres of the party opened fire on the very first day of the launch of the party at the Jatiya Press Club leaving one dead. It was reported in newspapers and magazines that the Freedom Party later emerged as something tantamount to a "terror party".
The killers, who once gave birth to the political party, now got registered with the Election Commission.
In the controversial national elections of February 15, 1996, one of the self-declared killers Khandaker Abdur Rashid was elected uncontested from Chandina in Comilla. With the blessings of the BNP high-ups, this self-declared killer was made the leader of the opposition in parliament.
Another self-declared killer Syed Farooq Rahman also contested the February 15 elections from the then Dhaka-5 constituency.
Rashid and several other leaders of Freedom Party also contested the national elections held in 1988. Rashid's daughter Mehnaz said she contested the last two parliamentary polls from Comilla-7 constituency on Freedom Party ticket.
Source: Weekly Jaijaidin, September 22, 1992, Bangladesher Nirbachon [Election of Bangladesh] edited by ASM Shamsul Arefin.